In an effort to retaliate against him, Đức and two other households installed loudspeakers playing the calls of owls and eagles to drown out the sound of Minh’s speaker. — Photo thanhnien.vn
There’s a Vietnamese expression “Bán anh em xa mua láng giềng gần”, which roughly translates as “A nearby stranger is better than a far-away relative.”
Lê Văn Minh, a teacher from An Hiệp Commune in southern Bến Tre Province’s Ba Tri District, had a good relationship with his neighbours since moving into the area two years ago.
After being told by his friends that breeding birds could bring about a sustainable income, Minh decided to renovate the top floor of his house to raise swiftlets. At that time, Phạm Minh Đức, one of his neighbours, was willing to help Minh construct a space for the breeding of the birds.
However, at the end of September 2017, after Minh’s business had been operating for a month, Đức and members of another two households sent a letter of complaint to local authorities.
According to the complaint, Minh’s renovated house to feed birds was affecting the surrounding environment, as the birds were defecating in rainwater used for drinking and living. In addition, loudspeakers used to lure birds to Minh’s house were annoying.
At meetings organised by An Hiệp Commune’s People’s Committee, Minh asserted that he was not responsible for the bird poo on the roofs of surrounding households, saying that swiftlets only poo when they enter the house.
Additionally, tests compiled by competent agencies showed that the noise of the loudspeakers at Minh’s house was within permitted levels.
However, he agreed to pay each household VNĐ400,000 (US$17.5) as compensation to buy drinking water. Refusing Minh’s offer, his neighbours asked him to stop the breeding.
As each party refused to compromise on the issue, several efforts at reconciliation have failed.
In an effort to retaliate against him, Đức and two other households installed loudspeakers playing the calls of owls and eagles to drown out the sound of Minh’s speaker.
Then, in late 2017, Minh’s family sent a letter to local authorities, requesting that surrounding households remove their loudspeakers as they were scaring away the swiftlets.
The result of the neighbourly dispute has not yet been solved, but we can see that the plan to make some easy cash has ruffled a lot of feathers. — VNS